Professional wrestling really is a family affair. Both the Harts and the Guerreros are well-known in the wrestling world for producing some of the most skilled performers of a number of decades. Both families have produced former WWE Tag Team, Intercontinental, and World Champions. While there are no biological Guerreros and minimal Harts in WWE today, the company does employee a variety of second and third generation superstars, most notably WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte and multi-time world champion Randy Orton. It is well-known that Charlotte is the daughter of “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and that Randy Orton is the son of “Cowboy” Bob Orton; in fact, the early careers of both heavily centered around their parents.
Though many pro wrestling relations are well-documented, there are even more which fans may not be aware of. Even in the age of the internet, the most hardcore fan may be oblivious to certain relations. In fact, some relations are so obscure that WWE itself might not be aware of them.
In this article, we’re going to be looking at some of the most surprising and shocking cases of professional wrestling relations. From in-laws to cousins, here are 15 wrestlers you didn’t know were related.
15. Terry Gordy/Jesse
Terry Gordy was one of the most captivating performers of his time. He was big, he was tough, and he was vicious. He is best remembered for his time as a member of The Fabulous Freebirds, the most iconic tag team in wrestling history. Terry Gordy is a professional wrestling legend. His son, however, is not.
The internet wrestling community expected great things from Ray Gordy when it was announced that he had signed a deal with WWE in 2005. But when he made his main roster debut in 2007, it became clear that he was not destined for the same career as his father.
The younger Gordy spent his first two years on the main roster performing as Jesse, a goofy hillbilly who teamed with a comatose Luke Gallows, who went by the name of Festus. Gordy later adopted the gimmick of a would-be rapper, becoming the whitest character WWE has ever seen (with the exception of Byron Saxton).
14. Dusty Rhodes/Jerry Sags
“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes begat himself two sons; Goldust and Cody Rhodes. He also had another relation in the wrestling world who was not referenced all that often. Jerry Sags.
Jerry Sags is a bafflingly accomplished wrestler who made a name for himself alongside Brian Knobbs. Sags and Knobbs were known as The Nasty Boys and made a living shoving their armpits into the faces of their opponents.Despite this, The Nasty Boys held gold in both WCW and WWE. While The Nasty Boys owe much of their success to their friendship with Hulk Hogan, Sags owes some of his WCW accomplishments to Dusty Rhodes, the former WCW booker and his brother-in-law.
13. Rikishi/Roman Reigns
WWE loves to reference Roman Reigns’ family. Vince McMahon believes it’s a surefire way to finally get him over with the fans who have been rejecting him for the past two years. Commentators are frequently instructed to mention Reigns’ relation to stars such as The Rock and Umaga.
However, the same commentators tend to shy away from acknowledging Reigns’ relation to former WWE stars that maybe weren’t taken so seriously during their time with the company. One such example is Rikishi.
The rear-shaking Rikishi is one of Roman Reigns’ many Samoan cousins, although don’t expect WWE to mention that anytime soon. The company likely feels Reigns would lose credibility if too much attention was given to his relationship with a former member of Too Cool.
Do you remember Deuce? If not, I envy you. Deuce made his SmackDown debut alongside Domino back in 2007. Deuce and Domino were two guys who were stuck in the 1950s and wrestled as rigidly as performers from that era.
Tamina Snuka is, surprise surprise, the daughter of wrestling legend Jimmy Snuka. She hasn’t used her second name on WWE TV since her father was arrested for murder, but that doesn’t mean she can change her family. The aforementioned Deuce is also the child of Jimmy Snuka, meaning he is the older brother of Tamina.
11. The Honky Tonk Man/Grand Master Sexay
Neither The Honky Tonk Man nor Grand Master Sexay were too talented inside the ring, yet they both had careers in WWE. However, that is not what connects these two underachievers. What connects The Honky Tonk Man to Grandmaster Sexay is Memphis wrestling legend and WWE personality Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Jerry Lawler is the cousin of The Honky Tonk Man and the father of Brian Christopher, otherwise known as Grand Master Sexay. That makes The Honky TonkMan and Grand Master Sexay first cousins once removed.
So much attention is given to Jerry Lawler’s relationship with both men that this fact is often glossed over or missed altogether. That has got to sting, considering both The Honky TonkMan and Grand Master Sexay have been playing second fiddle to Lawler for their entire careers.
10. Yokozuna/The Usos
Yokozuna was one of WWE’s biggest stars of the 1990s, in all senses of the word. He defeated the likes of Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, and The Undertaker, and held the WWF World Heavyweight Championship on two separate occasions. Although Yoko died young and didn’t leave behind any sons or daughters, he did have quite a large family and many of his descendants can be seen on the wrestling scene today.
Jimmy and Jey Usos have recently undergone a gimmick transformation taking them from face paint wearing heroes to gang bangers who don’t care about much other than winning championships. Their recent heel turn gives them something in common with Yokozuna, not that they were short of similarities in the first place.
The Usos, like Yokozuna, are members of the Anoa’i wrestling dynasty, perhaps the most famous wrestling family in the world. This makes the former WWE World Champion cousin to the former WWE Tag Team Champions.
As long as we’re on the Anoa’i family, let’s take a look at Naomi. Naomi, who debuted as one of Brodus Clay’s dancers, has gone on to display immense talent inside the ring and is considered by many to be a future SmackDown Women’s Champion. She is the wife of Jonathan Fatu, otherwise known as Jimmy Uso.
Her marriage to Jimmy Uso means Naomi is related to some of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time (as well as a couple of not so great ones). One of Naomi’s most notable in-laws is Eddie Fatu, who competed in WWE as “Umaga”.
Umaga was one of the most intense superstars of his time and received a major push which culminated in him challenging John Cena for the WWE Championship. If Naomi can tap into the ferocity that her in-law brought to the ring in 2008, she could become one of the finest competitors in SmackDown’s women’s division.
8. Bray Wyatt/IRS
The WWE Universe – yes, I cringed writing that – is no doubt familiar with The Wyatt Family, the apocalyptic cult led by the maniacal Bray Wyatt. But not everybody in said Universe is familiar with Bray Wyatt’s real world family.
It may come as a shock given his unconventional character, but Bray Wyatt is the son of Mike Rotunda. Rotunda, who is today a WWE producer, had a memorable career with WWE in the ‘80s and ’90s. He is perhaps best known for his stint as Irwin R. Schyster, a villainous tax collector whom even Jesus wouldn’t break bread with.
Given the fact that the son and father portray(ed) polar opposite characters, WWE has never acknowledged the Wyatt and Schyster connection, but there is no guarantee that it won’t be incorporated into a storyline somewhere down the road.
7. Bo Dallas/Blackjack Mulligan
Bo Dallas is the brother of Bray Wyatt and the son of Irwin R. Shyster, but it is his connection to his grandfather that many fans will find most interesting. Blackjack Mulligan, Dallas’ maternal grandfather, was one of the most popular tag team wrestlers of the 1970s. He brought an intensity to the ring which was almost frightening to watch.
The soft-spoken, goofy character which Bo Dallas has portrayed for the majority of his time in WWE is as different to the character of his grandfather as Bray Wyatt’s character is to IRS. However, Dallas’ current “Believe in Bo” gimmick has given him a chance to be a little more vicious inside the ring, displaying a mean streak not many knew he had.
6. Blackjack Lanza/JBL
Now we’re going from Blackjack Mulligan to his former tag team partner, Blackjack Lanza. Perhaps it is because he has been related to as many WWE superstars as Blackjack Mulligan, but Blackjack Lanza is not so familiar to many of today’s WWE fans. However, it is not like Lanza is without any connection to modern wrestling.
SmackDown commentator John “Bradshaw” Layfield is the nephew of Lanza, which isn’t so crazy when you think about it. Bradshaw’s character has always been quite similar to the Blackjack gimmick, particularly in his early days with WWE.
Although Blackjack Lanza doesn’t have as many relatives in WWE as his former tag team partner, the one relative he does have has been far more successful than any of Mulligan’s descendants. JBL has held multiple championships inside WWE, including the WWE Championship.
5. Fred Ottoman/Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes has a lot of family connected to WWE, most notably his father Dusty and, as we mentioned earlier, Jerry Sags. However, it is a little-known fact that Cody Rhodes is also related to one Fred Ottoman, who may be better known to wrestling fans as The Shockmaster.
The Shockmaster is remembered by many as a clutz inside the ring and out, and also competed as Tugboat and Typhoon. He was the brother-in-law of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes which, like Jerry Sags, makes him Cody’s uncle.
Lucky for Cody, he got a great deal more of his father’s talents than his uncles’, and has not only been able to break through the limitations put on him by WWE but also remained upright after doing so.
4. Bret Hart/Roddy Piper
Bret “The Hitman” Hart is considered by many to be the greatest in-ring talent of all time, which is pretty hard to argue with. Hart has a number of relatives involved in professional wrestling today, including Natalya Neidhart and her husband, Tyson Kidd. He is also related to Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, and Dynamite Kid.
However, many people fail to realize that Hart is also related to WWE Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Piper, who was also a native of Canada, claimed a couple of times throughout the years that he was a cousin of Bret Hart, though many people did not believe him due to his tendency to tell tall, or at least slightly enlarged, tales. However, Bret eventually confirmed that Piper was his cousin and removed all doubt.
3. Eddie Guerrero/Aiden English
The Guerrero family is one of the three major families in wrestling history, the other two being the Hart family and the Anoa’i family. Eddie Guerrero, who held the WWE Championship and scored himself a place in the WWE Hall of Fame, was the most successful member of the Guerrero family. After his death, Vince McMahon promised his widow that she, and other members of her family, would always have a job with WWE.
Vince probably regrets making that promise as Aiden English, a member of the jobber tag team The Vaudevillians, recently tied the knot with Eddie’s oldest daughter Shaul. This would make English not only a member of the Guerrero family but the son-in-law of Eddie himself.
2. Hulk Hogan/Mike Awesome
Hulk Hogan is easily the biggest star in the history of WWE. If it wasn’t for his musclebound antics in the 1980s, WWE probably never would have become the sports entertainment juggernaut that it is today. The contributions of Mike Awesome to sports entertainment are significantly less impressive, but it can’t be denied that Awesome was entertaining inside a ring.
Mike Awesome was one of ECW’s biggest stars of the late ‘90s but bailed for World Championship Wrestling in 2000, a move which made him pretty unpopular in the wrestling world. Awesome secured a WCW contract thanks to Hulk Hogan, one of the company’s biggest stars, who also just happened to be his uncle.
1. Daniel Bryan/John Laurinaitis
Thanks to Total Divas, Daniel Bryan’s relationship with Brie Bella is well-documented. The two wed in 2014, making Bryan the brother-in-law of Nikki Bella. Bryan is also related to John Cena, who has been in a relationship with Nikki for a number of years and has put a shocking amount of energy into not marrying her.
What some fans may not realize is that Daniel Bryan is also related to John Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis, the former Executive Vice President of Talent Relations in WWE, got to married the Bella’s mother in a ceremony this year, making him Bryan’s step-father-in-law.
This means Daniel Bryan is related to one of the men who fought so hard to keep down when fans demanded he get elevated to the main event where he belonged.